Censuses of archival collections that are relevant to Piedmont women’s history (2006)
In 2006, Regional Women’s Council (Consulta femminile regionale del Piemonte) has established and financed two research grants provided by the contest notice for an archival collections and documentaries census that is relevant to Piedmont women’s history and movement.
The census launching has been presented the 28th September 2006 during the congress “To Preserve and to Valorise Piedmont Women’s Memories and History”.
The census was carried out by two professional archivists (Sabrina Contini and Paola Novaria) from September 2006 to March 2007. It was coordinated by the Regional Women’s Council, the University of Turin Research and women and gender studies interdisciplinary centre – CIRSDe (Centro Interdisciplinare di Ricerca e Studi delle Donne e di Genere dell’Università di Torino) and ArDP.
This first census aimed at creating a bigger project in order to protect and valorise women’s archival collections and documentaries that exist in Piedmont and to increase historical and social research. Its goal is to introduce the approach and activities of the associations, the movements and the people that/who are not yet sufficiently known, as well as the places in which they have worked and the public or private institutions that have preserved their memories.
Further information about the project:
- It goes from World War I to nowadays
- The census was done with more or less 90 organizations (see list) out of over a hundred archives (some of them did not eventually have an archive that was interesting for the project). They correspond to different archive typologies: public and private archives, state archives, municipal archives, ecclesiastical archives, cultural institutions and associations archives, women’s associations archives…
- The identified archives are geographically divided in that way: 32 in Turin and its Province; 2 in Alessandria; 5 in Asti; 9 in Biella; 16 in Cuneo; 4 in Novara; 6 in Verbania; 6 in Vercelli.
- The Guarini Archivi program, provided by the Regional Department of Culture in Piedmont (Assessorato alla Cultura della Regione Piemonte), was used as a support for the census. It provides a collection and the material catalogue description on several levels according to the international standards ISAD and ISAAR.
- The catalogue reproduced the hierarchical articulation of the already reordered archives (up to 5 levels, from the institution to the archival unit). Therefore, it consents the archival contextualisation of the papers that were identified interesting for the project.
- There are circa 1500 catalogue index cards (relating to the institutions, collections, series, sub-series, unit). They are gathered under the name “Archivio delle Donne in Piemonte” that constitutes the virtual depository archive.
Professor Dora Marucco, from the scientific board that coordinated the project, has introduced the census work during the conference “The Women Memory in Trentino Alto Adige – Trento Archives” (“The Women Memory in Piedmont Archives”).
Personal collections censuses (2008)
The personal collections, due to their origins, are the most threatened by the risk of dispersion and that risk is even bigger when it involves women collections. According to the statutory objectives, ArDP works for the preservation of documents that have been collected in some women personal collections. Those women took part actively in associations or feminist movements or their activities had relevance in social, cultural or political fields in Piedmont.
Knowing that the protection of these collections must begin when they are being formed, this process passes by individuating the existence of “producers” of these collections and increasing their awareness of the importance of conservation. We collaborated with CIRSDe in 2008. It created a job grant in order to carry on the 2006/2007 censuses and is especially focused on women personal collections that are still alive.
It is a pilot project, with new characteristics and issues in comparison with the traditional activity of “historical” collection inventories: we work with archives that are “alive”, it means that they are still growing and they are subject to movement due to the vicissitude of the women that produce them.
The new census, assigned to the archivist Cristina Gasca, has produced the elaboration of 10 biographical profiles, which have been written based on interviews, and the description, in terms of general structure, of personal documentary collections.
It is possible to consult the inventories stored by the Guarini Archivi program at ArDP.
Successive censuses (2011-2014)
The census work has continued in 2011-2012 thanks to a grant provided by the notice “Civil Society Talents” (Bando Talenti Società Civile), co-financed by “Giovanni Goria” Foundation (Fondazione « Giovanni Goria »), in collaboration with CRT Foundation (Fondazione CRT) and Piedmont Region, Culture Direction, libraries and archives Sector (Regione Piemonte, Direzione cultura, Settore biblioteche, archivi e istituti culturali).
The census work named “For a Women History in Piedmont. Sources and Search Path” (Per una storia delle donne in Piemonte. Fonti e percorsi di ricerca) was assigned to Emiliana Losma, whose aim was to continue the work that has been done by Sabrina Contini and Paola Novaria in 2006/2007 with the same objectives.
The data collected during these three censuses works that have been done between 2006 and 2012 has been re-elaborated by Caterina Ronco and Martina Brondino. Then, it has been taken up by the ArDP scientific board in order to publish the volume “Women Archive in Piedmont. Guide to the Sources” (Archivio delle Donne in Piemonte. Guida alle fonti).
Audio-visual sources census in Piedmont (2011-2014)
During 2011-2015, thanks to a grant in the context of Bando Talenti Società Civile, co-financed by Fondazione « Giovanni Goria » di Asti, in collaboration with Fondazione CRT and ArDP, Emiliana Losma has carried on the census work done by ArDP in the previous years by extending it to audio-visual sources.
The census, named “For a Women History in Piedmont. Audio-visual Sources” (Per una storia delle donne in Piemonte. Le fonti audiovisive), explored the presence of photographical, audio-visual and audio records archival resources in Piedmont archives.